Ninety-four percent of adults with elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) are exposed to lead in the workplace. Adults with elevated BLLs can experience anemia, nervous system dysfunction, kidney problems, hypertension, decreased fertility, and an increased risk of miscarriage.
Workers may also be inadvertently exposing their families to lead by bringing lead dust home from their workplace. Approximately 2-3 percent of children with BLLs of 10 µg/dL or greater were exposed to lead this way.
Reporting Adult and Child Blood Test Results
Wisconsin Stat. § 254.13 requires that all blood lead test results on Wisconsin residents be reported to the Department of Health Services (DHS). The Wisconsin Adult Lead Program and Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program implement the reporting rule through laboratory-based reporting systems and works with laboratories to assure all blood lead results are reported.
Wisconsin Administrative Code Ch. DHS 181 has been revised. This is the summary:
- Health care providers send test sample and required information to clinical (analyzing) lab
- Clinical (analyzing) lab reports test results and required information to DHS
- Clinics using point of care instruments for testing must also report to DHS
- Within 24 hours for blood lead levels (BLLs) of 45 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) or more
- Within 48 hours for BLLs from 5–44.9 µg/dL
- Within 10 days for BLLs less than 5 µg/dL
Summary of Laboratory Report Requirements
- Name (first, middle initial, last)
- Birth date
- Current street address, unit number, city, county and zip (no P.O. Boxes)
- Patient's phone number
- If 16 or older and employed
- Employer's name and address
- If under 18
- Parent or Guardian name and phone number
- Submitting health care provider name, address, and phone number
- Physician name and address (if not the submitting health care provider)
- Analysis laboratory name, address, and phone
- Date of sample collection
- Sample type (venous or capillary)
- Result in µg/dL
All laboratories must report all blood levels to Wisconsin DHS.
In the health care provider's order to laboratory, health care providers are required by Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 181 to send required demographic information that the lab is unlikely to have, including employer and occupation.
Employer and occupation information are reported in the Laboratory Results Report within the HL7 message (often NK1 - 13 fields). If employer and occupation are missing from the order to laboratory, call the health care provider for this information.
Enforcement and Penalty for not Reporting Required Data
Pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 254.30, DHS may report violations of this chapter to the district attorney of the county in which the violation occurred for the enforcement action. Penalties range from $100 to $5,000. Each day of continued violation constitutes a separate offense.
Contact us about reporting blood lead results in Wisconsin.
Adult Lead Program
Email the DHS Adult Lead Program
Childhood Lead Program
For information on reporting requirements for children's blood lead tests, contact the Wisconsin Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program by email.
Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES)
Wisconsin requires that all laboratory lead tests be reported to DHS so that emerging public health conditions and trends can be identified.
The Wisconsin ABLES program, located in the Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health (BEOH), is responsible for analysis of adult lead test data and report of these data to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- NIOSH ABLES data (includes Wisconsin data)
- NIOSH ABLES home page (includes publications and resources)
- NIOSH's lead webpage
- NIOSH's Reproductive Health lead page (pregnancy, breastfeeding, and other topics)
- CDC's Lead Environmental Health webpage
Wisconsin Fact Sheets
- Lead Testing: Also Important in Adults, P-01293 (PDF) - This fact sheet for health care providers reviews the basics of adult lead poisoning.
- Protecting Shipworkers from Lead, P-01625 (PDF) - This infographic outlines how ship workers can stay safe on the job.
- Keep Your Family Safe - Don't Bring Home Lead from Your Job, P-01737 (PDF) - This fact sheet for workers is available in English and Spanish and describes how workers might bring lead home from their job and how to prevent take-home exposures.
- After Action Report: Investigation of Lead Exposures Among Workers at Fraser Shipyard, 2016-2017
- Trends in Occupational and Adult Lead Exposure in Wisconsin 1988-2005 (2006; PDF)
New Jersey Right to Know Program Fact Sheet - Basic facts about workplace lead. New Jersey Right to Know Program Fact Sheet (Spanish).
Contact us about the Wisconsin Adult Lead Program
Email: the Adult Lead Program